football Edit

After NFL dalliance, Jim Harbaugh is back at Michigan for the long haul

Nearly 10 years ago, Jim Harbaugh coached in Super Bowl XLVII. This offseason, the thought of reaching football’s biggest stage weighed on his mind once again.

Coming off a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff appearance, the Michigan football team’s eighth-year head coach was linked to a number of NFL head coaching vacancies, including the Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. The lattermost of the three even flew him in for an interview, resulting in serious speculation that Harbaugh would depart Ann Arbor after his best season yet.

Ultimately, that never materialized.

“Just ultimately decided this is where I wanted to be,” Harbaugh said, addressing reporters for the first time since the interview. “A lot of gratitude for that. Like I said earlier, right now (Michigan) is scary good. To try to define what that is, you know the law of averages is going to catch up to you at some point, but that’s the place we want to be. As I walk around our field, whether it’s our weight room, whether it’s out there with the guys, coaches and players, it’s people that are engaged, players come up to you, they’ve got a smile on their face. ‘What’s up, coach? What do we got today?’ It just makes the days fly by.”

With spring ball now underway, Harbaugh’s full focus is on the Wolverines. After returning from Minnesota following his Vikings interview, he gave athletic director Warde Manuel his word that “this would not be a reoccurring issue and he would stay at Michigan as long as it wants him,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Shortly after, he signed a modified five-year contract extension to recuperate some of the enormous pay cut he took following the Wolverines’ dismal 2-4 campaign in 2020.

Standing in Schembechler Hall on Tuesday afternoon, Harbaugh reaffirmed his commitment to Michigan for the long haul.

“Yeah, just signed a five-year deal,” Harbaugh said. “Like I just said, when you’re around this kind of team, these kind of guys, the days just fly by. I could coach a long time. I see no end in sight when you’re around this kind of group.”

This fall, Harbaugh could have his best Michigan team yet. Led by a group of talented young offensive weapons and a veteran offensive line that won the Joe Moore Award in 2021, the Wolverines could debut in the top five of the initial 2022 AP Poll.

And now, nine years after falling short in the Super Bowl, Harbaugh has his sights set on a new trophy.

“Yeah, we could win college football’s greatest trophy, we could win the national championship and that’s plenty good,” Harbaugh said. “Like I just said, it would be great to win a Super Bowl, but yeah, completely focused on winning the national championship.”

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